September 8 marks a big day for the sport of boxing, as unquestionably two of the top pound for pound fighters in the sport get ready to battle for ring supremacy. Both champions in different weight classes, Andre “Son of God” Ward will defend his WBC and Ring super middleweight titles against the current WBC and Ring light heavyweight champion “Bad” Chad Dawson.
Currently, Dawson is undoubtedly the best fighter in the light heavyweight division. However, that might not be enough to beat the young, hungry, undefeated gold medalist and king of super middleweights. Both fighters are the super elites of their division, but Ward has done a far better job of dominating the fighters in his weight class than Dawson. Coming off a huge Super Six tournament win over Carl Froch, he cemented himself as the man to beat at 168 pounds. Although his fight with Froch was difficult, he absolutely dominated the Brit through 12 rounds despite the fact he fought with a broken left hand the entire night. Dawson did look strong in his last contest against the aging Bernard Hopkins, but he has not completely dominated his division, having some close calls with both Hopkins and Glen Johnson. Not to mention his loss to Jean Pascal, albeit some people saw Dawson winning the fight.
This will be a difficult fight for both men. However, Ward should have the advantage come fight night. Dawson can sometimes be a very slow starter, meaning that for the first few rounds of the fight he does not throw a large, volume of punches. He is not known as an action first fighter, but if he wants to take the gold off Wards waist, he will need to throw more punches than seen in previous encounters. If he lets rounds slip away or lets the fight become close due to a lack of punches, he will be in for a very tough night and most likely a decision loss.
One factor that might play into the hands of Dawson is his reach advantage. He will need to use his range and keep Ward at the end of his punches to secure a clear victory. If he can keep Ward from coming in and closing the distance, he will have a much better shot at defeating the champ. Again, all of this relies on Dawson throwing a lot of punches. If he lets Ward set up and take his time, Dawson will get hit, and often.
Ward has shown that he is one of the most adaptable fighters inside the ring. He can fight from the outside and is also very proficient on the inside. His fight with Sakio Bika showed us that Ward can adapt to any situation and change his style of fighting based on his opponent. His boxing skills are second to none and Dawson will make him use all the tools in his arsenal come fight night. Dawson should force Ward to use his solid footwork and quick hands to keep the bigger man from coming forward and bullying him around the ring.
Dawson will definitely be the larger man in the ring September 8, but that might not be a bad thing for Ward. Coming down even one weight division has known to weaken fighters, take some steam off their punches, not to mention stifle their cardio. But that might not be an issue, as Dawson was only 10 pounds over the weight two weeks ago, which should be ample time for him to cut the weight efficiently. However, this is boxing and one just never knows. If Dawson doesn’t come into the ring “fighting fit,” he will be in big trouble as Ward will expose his weaknesses early.
This fight will probably be the best fight at 168 the entire year. This matchup will offer an exciting battle of skills between two excellent boxers. For the first time in his career, Ward will face a larger, faster fighter with good footwork that can keep him from closing the distance and fighting from the inside. Ward however, is very adaptable and is a master on the inside. However this fight ends up, it will be an exciting evening as both fighters are hungry and ready to prove themselves as great champions.